Wednesday 18 May 2022

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::: RMT threatens national industrial action over service cuts

The Department for Transport has decided to abandon the franchising system in England.

The franchise on this page ceased to exist on normal commercial terms on 23 March 2020, and was replaced by an Emergency Measures Agreement, which guaranteed an income to operators and removed commercial risk.

From 20 September 2020 until some time in 2022 Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) replaced the original EMAs, slightly reducing the fixed fees paid to operators but otherwise continuing the protection from commercial risk.

Replacement contracts of a new type may be announced later on.

(In the case of Scottish franchises, the Scottish Government announced on 18 September an extension of its EMAs from 20 September 2020 to January 2021, pending further discussions.)

South Western Railway

The shortlisted bidders were Stagecoach Group plc (Stagecoach South West Limited) and FirstGroup plc/MTR (First South Western Trains Limited).

First was originally shortlisted (4 February 2016) as a sole contender, but this bid became a joint venture with MTR in June 2016 (First: 70%, MTR: 30%).

The franchise length is seven years, with an option for the DfT to extend it by one year. (Source: South Western franchise: stakeholder briefing document)

start date
20 August 2017
end date
August 2024

owned by

legal title
First South Western Trains Ltd

service area
Commuter, outer suburban and regional services from London Waterloo to Portsmouth, Weymouth, Southampton, Exeter. Outer London local services and Ryde-Shanklin (I.O.W.)

South West Trains

to be replaced by
South Western


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